Turkwel dam project was characterised with inflations and the key players appeared operating with impunity and under state protection.
The French firm involved had quoted $277,000 as the price for a single turbine, the prevailing market price was about a third of that.
Transformers were also priced by the French at more than double the international price, the envoy complained.
Worse still, the loan would be repaid in Swiss francs, a very hard currency vis-à-vis a steadily weakening Kenyan shilling.
The Kenya government officials (read Biwott, Saitoti), wrote the envoy, were fully aware of the disadvantages of the French deal “but nevertheless accepted it because of high personal advantages”.
So personalised was the Turkwel project that when the Ministry of Regional Development under which KVDA fell was carved our from Mr Biwott’s Ministry of Energy and Regional Development, President Daniel arap Moi issued an Executive order that the parastatal be retained in Mr Biwott’s docket.
Two years into the construction of the dam, an assessment report funded by the Norwegian government noted that, when completed, the dam would reduce soil-water availability, and have a severe impact on the riverine forest vegetation due to inability to tap groundwater to regenerate.
That has come to pass in the fullness of time.
The report by the Norwegian Aid Development further revealed that the dam was built on a major earthquake fault line and was expected to silt up in about 50 years.
In parliament, Mr Biwott called Turkwel “a landmark in Kenya’s economic development” and “a big step forward”. In then cowered, rubber-stamp Kanu Parliament, nobody questioned him.
However, time has proved him wrong.